Vail Daily letter: Bring solutions to the table
July 29, 2016
Experts locally, nationally and worldwide agree that the earliest years of a child's development are essential. They tell us that over 80 percent of a child's neural pathways are established prior to age 5 — before he even enters our public school system!
Experts locally, nationally and worldwide agree that without quality daycare centers and preschools to care for and educate our youngest children, families are plunged into crisis.
We watched, disheartened and appalled, as the Eagle Town Board turned down not one, but two proposals from citizens attempting to keep childcare options in Eagle open for families and their children. Where are their options? Where are their proposals? What are their solutions?
As a board dedicated to ensuring the success of our town and our community, why aren't they the ones asking how they can help daycare centers for our babies and preschools for our toddlers succeed here? Why aren't they the ones asking what children need to be safe and healthy here? Why aren't they asking what the town of Eagle can do to help families to settle and stay here, instead of shooting down the suggestions and proposals that concerned citizens and volunteers present before them.
As the town Board of Trustees, when they hear proposals for new housing developments — 42 units welcoming new families, building our community — high on their list of priorities for ensuring a sustainable community should be accessible and affordable childcare for the children who will undoubtedly arrive with the available housing. Will these developers include a childcare facility in their plans? Do our current facilities have the capacity to absorb this growth? (The answer to that question is certainly "no".) Will the town of Eagle be looking out for our youngest children and their families?
If our ideas won't work for the town, if our solutions and suggestions aren't good enough, then what is the town doing to address the problem? I suggest that the town should be bringing their own proposals to the table. The town should ask families and teachers and caregivers to join them in identifying the challenges and reaching solutions together that we can all agree on.
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I am asking the town of Eagle, please don't just slam doors on citizens and volunteers and families trying to be part of the solution. Eagle families need access to childcare. Our youngest children need high quality environments in which to grow and thrive. We all need a local government willing to bring viable solutions to the table when families in our community are struggling.